How you lose a client starts with how you manage your clients.
1. Don’t Understand Your Clients
If you do not understand your clients, their issues, situation and so on, you’re going to run into client relationship challenges. No one needs that. Basically, if you don’t know what they really need from you, how can you give it to them?
2. Maintain Poor Communication
How you communicate with a client will do a lot to kill any inherent or accumulated trust if you do it wrong. If you only react to clients, waiting for them to call you instead of being proactive with issues and job progress, higher and higher roadblocks go up in your client relationship. When you don’t communicate with a client or when you delay in responding to a client request, barbed wires roll across those roadblocks.
And if you hold back on surprises. . .
. . .you’re laying cement across the roadblocks. Want to raise those roadblocks into Berlin Walls? Then hide things when they go wrong—don’t call, don’t visit and by all means, do not send an email. And if you are unlucky enough to have your client find out about the problems before they pay you in full, sidestep as long as possible. Then act surprised as if you didn’t understand what your client was talking about.
3. Never Take Responsibility
After you calm your cash flow fears, install gun turrets on top of the Berlin Walls you are building: when something goes wrong, point fingers. Start with vendors. Then point a finger at one of the client employees. Better still, blame the client himself!
Finally, do not give a damage estimate. Tell the client you will simply add Time & Materials to his problem. Moreover, remember, there is no alternative solution. Ever!
That’s how to lose a client.
But if you do the opposite—take responsibility and stay proactive, show that you want to keep the client and that you care about his success, then you will grow your client’s trust. You might meet, or even heaven forbid, exceed the client expectations!